Why B.C. should consider imposing a stay-at-home order

There is an alarming increase in the number of cases and death rate due to COVID-19

Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, announced new Covid-19 restrictions for the province. (wiki.commons)

This week British Columbia recorded over 3,289 COVID-19 cases, this is an increase of 1,500 over three days.

“The number of people in hospital with the disease rose by 36 to 368. Of those, 121 are in intensive care, an increase of 19,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Even though these numbers are shocking to us at first glance, one can’t assume there is total consistency in the way data is reported province to province, and there are some people who feel that there are still some things that could be made clearer. For example, most people don’t know that the counts of COVID patients who are in the ICU only include people who are still considered infectious.

“Patients in ICU in B.C. with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious are not in the ICU totals that are reported daily,” Justine Ma with B.C.’s Provincial Health Services Authority said in an email to CBC.

CBC states that “it’s not entirely clear if the same applies to B.C. patients who are hospitalized outside of ICUs. Asked for clarification on that, Ma did not answer.”

The onset of the third wave is spreading with a rise in cases and deaths. Doctors are encouraged to stay safe at home outside of work. Family physician and clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia Dr. Amy Tan said that “as long as shopping malls and other non-essential businesses are open, British Columbians aren’t getting the message.”

“We need to increase people’s situational awareness that this is dire,” said Tan.

In a recent COVID briefing, Henry explained what staying safe in the current phase means and how it makes a difference.

“If you live in North Van, you should not be travelling to Langley or to Richmond. If you live in the Lower Mainland, you should not be travelling to the island. If you live in Penticton, you should not be going to Sun Peaks or Oliver or Kelowna right now. We need to only do those types of travel if it’s essential and nothing more,” said Henry.

Another stay-at-home order was in effect in Ontario, which started on April 8 in response to the increase in COVID-19 cases. The order is expected to be in effect for 28 days.

Ottawa’s bylaw services director, Roger Chapman, said in an email to CBC that his department was still “reviewing the province’s amended regulations” and would update the public on the details as soon as possible.

“We need to be proactive, we don’t want to be two, three weeks from now seeing what Ontario is going through and what Alberta is going through and saying, ‘oh we didn’t do anything,’” said Tan, insisting that “we need to act now.”

A stay-at-home order could go a long way in helping reduce the spread of COVID and its variants, according to the latest COVID-19 projections by Science Table’s COVID Advisory for Ontario. I’m sure it would help here in B.C. too.

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